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Players and puppies featured in 2018 Capitals Canine Calendar

Washington Capitals players and puppies were featured in the 2018 Capitals Canine Calendar.{ } Monday, Oct. 23, 2017 (ABC7 photo){ }{p}{/p}
Washington Capitals players and puppies were featured in the 2018 Capitals Canine Calendar. Monday, Oct. 23, 2017 (ABC7 photo)

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If someone you love loves both hockey and dogs, a Washington Capitals Canine Calendar may be the perfect holiday gift. The calendar featuring Capitals players and homeless puppies is a fundraiser for a local animal rescue organization.

The photo shoot was held Monday. After their practice, the players faced the “puparazzi.”

Nicklas Backstrom was photographed in a black suit and tangled up in the leashes of a half dozen fluffy Chow Chow puppies wearing bow ties and pearl necklaces.

“The puppies are great. They're rock stars,” Backstrom said.

The calendar shoot is organized each year by the players’ wives and girlfriends. These photos will be featured in the 2018 Capitals Canine Calendar and 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit Homeward Trails Animal Rescue.

“We've got dogs who've come in from our rural shelter partners in Virginia and West Virginia. We've got some hurricane survivors. We've got some young puppies who came in with pregnant moms,” said Homeward Trails Animal Rescue executive director Sue Bell.

Players like Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson brought their own pets. Carlson even adopted his dog Bronco through the organization three years ago.

“We fostered three dogs and then finally kept Bronco,” Carlson said.

Most of the dogs in the calendar are up for adoption and need a good home.

Katrina Connolly, wife of Capitals forward Brett Connolly, said, “They're so cute. [But] I don't think Brett will let me have another dog.”

Since the Caps partnered with Homeward Trails in 2014, the calendar sales have raised nearly $200,000 for the organization.

“They are just a dream partnership come true,” Bell said. “I mean everybody is so welcoming and supportive of our cause.”

The calendars cost $20, and will be sold online and at Capital One Arena starting on Black Friday November 24 - just in time for the holiday shopping season.

“They always sell out. So we tell everybody to get them fast before they're gone,” Bell said.

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This story has been updated, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017

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